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Think family programme and the national impact study

Birmingham City Council is committed to supporting the Government’s Troubled Families Programme for families with complex needs. In Birmingham this is known as ‘Think Family’. The aim of the programme is to support families to deal with the problems they face and achieve better outcomes in life.

In order to deliver the programme in line with government guidelines we need to share personal information (which may relate to you) with other agencies, both to identify the families we need to be working with and also to establish whether the programme is working. This data could include details of children’s educational attendance and behaviour, out of work benefits, social care records, details of involvement with the police or antisocial behaviour, domestic abuse, and mental and other health problems. The agencies we will be sharing and receiving information with include other council departments, the police, probation, the NHS and other health organisations, schools, the Youth Offending Team, and government departments including the Department for Work and Pensions. Any such sharing will be done proportionately and lawfully for the purpose of identifying those families who meet the Think Family criteria and most need this support, assessing their needs and ensuring the effectiveness of that this support. All families that agree to take part in the Think Family programme consequently should realise that this information sharing will take place in order to provide them with the necessary support.

In addition Birmingham is required to take part in the National Impact Study, a major piece of anonymised research comparing the progress of families who have received a Think Family service with those who have not in order to measure the effectiveness of the programme. This research will be essential to establishing the best way of working with families to resolve their problems, improve outcomes for them and the wider community, and save public money. All families will meet at least two of the six criteria of the expanded national Troubled Families programme as detailed at

Personal information will be shared with government departments for this purpose, including for some families who are not on the Think Family programme as the comparator group. When data is shared for the National Impact Study please note that:

  • it can only be used for carrying out research;
  • it cannot be used to make any decisions about you or your family and what services or benefits you do or do not receive;
  • it will be impossible for any person or family to be identified from any published reports;
  • no personal data will not be shared with or made available to the local authority or any other public agency by the researchers;
  • all data is transferred, handled and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act;
  • appropriate measures are in place to prevent the un-authorised use or disclosure of the data; and
  • the data will be destroyed when the research is complete.

Please note that you have the right to request that your data is not shared as part of the National Impact Study. If you wish to do this, please email TFSupport@birmingham.gov.uk.